Boy Scouts’ gay leadership ban may end thanks to unanimous vote by executive committee

The Boy Scouts' executive committee unanimously voted to end the ban on openly gay Scout leaders. (x)

The Boy Scouts’ executive committee unanimously voted to end the ban on openly gay Scout leaders. (x)

The Boy Scouts of America told local leaders on Monday that a key leadership panel voted unanimously to end the organization’s ban on openly gay leaders. On July 10, the executive committee of the Boy Scouts brought the move front and center. This came after the head of the organization urged the change back in May.

This will not require specific troops or councils to allow openly gay leaders, but leaves it open as an option. This resolution “affirms the right of each chartering organization to reach its own religious and moral conclusions about the specific meaning and application of” the Boy Scouts’ values.

“I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to presidents when I was director of the CIA and secretary of defense,” said the group’s president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Boy Scouts national annual meeting in May. “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”

“Today’s announcement hopefully marks the beginning of the end of the Boy Scouts of America’s decades-old ban on gay leaders and parents like my two moms,” Zach Wahls, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement.

“For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations. While this policy change is not perfect—BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults—it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.”

Wisconsin Governor, Eagle Scout, and presidential hopeful Scott Walker (R) spoke out against the Scouts’ decision on Tuesday. Speaking to the Independent Journal Review, he said, “I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”

The Boy Scouts had previously banned openly gay leaders and members until lifting the ban on its members in 2013. The ban on openly gay leaders, however, remained intact. A final vote of the full executive board will be held on July 27.

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